Blog by Mail incoming

>Less than twenty-four hours after I sent my BBM package to Weekly Dish, I found a cardboard box on my doorstep from Jenny Collins from Salem, Massachusetts. Inside, I found lots of lovely New England goodies.

A letter from Jenny said:

Hi Mairead –

I thought long and hard about what to send – things that would be sort of exotic to you (or at least hard to get in Australia) but not so exotic that no sane person would try them. They also had to be sturdy enough not to melt, or be crushed, or otherwise destroyed in transit. So here’s what I came up with. A bunch of things that are cloal to Massachusetts, and to New England generally:

Dried cranberries and wild blueberries

A jar of jam made with cranberries and raspberries

The Toll House Cookbook – it has lots of old-fashioned New England recipes – pot roast, Indian Pudding (I love it, but it’s an acquired taste, I think), and grapenut pudding. It also includes the original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. The bad news – it uses American temperatures and measurements so you would have to convert to use it…

A tin of Cope’s dried sweet corn. This is from Amish Country in Pennsylvania, not New England. It’s very good, with a caramely sort of taste due to the special drying process. There’s a recipe on the tin, and more at

Hope you enjoy!


I am fascinated by the dried sweet corn (what do you do with it? Sprinkle it on your breakfast? Put it in a stew?) and will research fully before cooking with it.

Thanks so much for the lovely package, Jenny!

Blog by Mail outgoing


I had a lot of fun putting together my blog by mail package. This is what I included:

Gourmet Dips ( Mexican)
Add to mayo, sour cream or fromage frais as a dip, or use as a rub for meat. I bought this recently at the Melbourne Food and Wine Fair.

Vittoria coffee
Melbourne is a real coffee-lover’s paradise, like Seattle. Vittoria coffee is Melburnians’ choice for coffee in a city who take coffee more seriously than anyone in the southern hemisphere.

Twinings Irish Breakfast Tea
I struggled to find much from Ireland here in Melbourne, but we are famous for our reliance on tea. Twinings is the nicest Irish tea we can get here. Great with a nice fruit scone (recipe on this blog!).

Tree of Life Macadamia Oil
Macadamia nuts are a huge Australian crop. This Australian oil is great for cooking or salad dressing.

Outback Spirit wild rosella jam
Rosellas are a native fruit. This preserve is reminiscent of a tart raspberry or plum jam.

Outback Spirit mango native mint chutney
Native mint is fresh with a peppery finish, and goes really well with the Australian-grown mangoes.

Mangal tea masala
One of my absolute favourite drinks since living in India. Add half a teaspoon to a pot of your usual tea, or sprinkle a quarter teaspoon on your café latte or hot milk with plenty of sugar for a taste of real Indian chai. Chai lattes are all the rage here in Aus, but the ones served in coffee shops are ridiculously expensive and are more sweet than spicy. This is the real thing.

Mangal butter chicken masala
This spice mix (masala simply means spice mix) is easy to use and results in a creamy rich chicken curry.

Mangal vindaloo masala
Vindaloo is hot and vinegary, my favourite curry of all. It comes from Goa in India which was colonised by the Portuguese until the mid-sixties. It has a reputation for being searing hot, but it should be strong-flavoured and not overly chilli hot.

Spice Bazaar outback pack
A pack of spice blends using native spices like lemon myrtle and spicy-sweet pepperberries, not available outside Australia .

…and for dessert:

Tim Tams – the classic Aussie chocolate biscuit, craved by Australians when they leave the country
Cherry Ripes – my personal favourite Australian chocolate bar

I also included the ABC Delicious magazine, which I enjoy reading.

Hope Jenny in Baton Rouge enjoys it!